As an editor, one of my duties is to tighten someone’s writing, to get rid of extraneous fluff that adds nothing more than word count.
Though I could make an extensive list…I’ll confine myself to just this one pet peeve: Whether or not.
Do you really need the or not after whether? In most instances, no. The or not is just fluff begging to be edited out.
Take a look at this:
I didn’t know whether or not you would come home tonight.
What am I really concerned about here? Whether you would come home at all is what I’m concerned about, so the or not is extraneous. So, the correct form would be:
I didn’t know whether you would come home tonight.
In the next example, whether you come home or whether you don’t come home is equally important. You have a task to complete either way.
Text me whether or not you are going to come home tonight.
Had I said: Text me whether you are coming home tonight, I would only expect a text if you were coming home, not if you weren’t.
Do you see the difference?
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